Monday, March 20th | 27 Adar 5783

October 23, 2017 2:21 pm

New York Times on Jewish Identity: Pork, an Israel-Apartheid Slur and Bashing Adelson and Netanyahu

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avatar by Ira Stoll


The headquarters of The New York Times. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday’s issue of “T,” The New York Times’ style magazine, carries a four-page feature headlined “Great American Novelists” in which “three fiction writers and one cartoonist ruminate on Jewish identity and its relationship to Israel and the U.S. in 2017.”

The cartoonist, Vanessa Davis, submitted “an original comic” titled “Talking About Israel.” The cartoon features two characters, one who announces “I hate talking about it” and another who replies, “Sure, stay quiet! So you’re fine with APARTHEID, O.K!”

If you think that represents the range of New York Times-approved opinion from American Jews about Israel and Jewish identity, wait, there’s even more.

One of the fiction writers, Nathan Englander, describes himself as a “pulled-pork-loving, drive-on-Saturdays secular Jew.”

A second fiction writer, Joshua Cohen, writes:

In my opinion, the great Jewish Question in America today is whether Jared Kushner should be excommunicated — and whether Ivanka Trump should be too. Of course, every family’s table since Eden has had its share of bad apples (Sheldon Adelson), and every family member has, or should have, a different idea of who’s the worst (Netanyahu).

The Times doesn’t provide Adelson a chance to respond to being insulted as a bad apple. I’d say that if “bad apples” are ones that give hundreds of millions of dollars away in charity to fund things like Taglit-Birthright Israel, maybe we could use some more of them. Nor does the Times give Netanyahu a chance to respond to being called “the worst.” Somehow Israeli voters manage to keep electing him no matter how terrible some American Jewish novelists think he is. Maybe the Israeli voters think Netanyahu has been doing a relatively good job of keeping them secure.

All in all, it’s a typically disappointing example of how the Times covers Israel and American Jews. The newspaper picks four writers to “ruminate on Jewish identity” and Israel. And of the four, they’ve got one self-described pork lover, a second who has a character make the trite, inaccurate and odious Israel-apartheid comparison, and a third who uses the opportunity to denounce Adelson and Netanyahu. Except for the pork part, which might turn off devout Muslims, the whole feature would do just great translated into Farsi and aimed at the Iranian audience that the Times seems to be eyeing for its business growth strategy.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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